Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad

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Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad
ISN 00330, Shargo Shirz Juwan.jpg
Born 1972 (age 45–46)
Al Qameshle, Syria
Detained at Guantanamo
Alternate name


  • Kari Bilal
  • Shargo Shirz Juwan
ISN 330
Charge(s) no charge, extrajudicial detention
Status Released to Bulgaria

Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad, a citizen of Syria, was formerly held in extrajudicial detention in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1]

Guantanamo counter-terrorism analysts estimate he was born in 1972, in Al Qameshle, Syria. He is from the Kurdish ethnic group.

Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad was held at Guantanamo for almost eight years until he was released to Bulgaria on May 4, 2010.[2][3][4]

Official status reviews[edit]

Originally the Bush Presidency asserted that captives apprehended in the "war on terror" were not covered by the Geneva Conventions, and could be held indefinitely, without charge, and without an open and transparent review of the justifications for their detention.[5] In 2004 the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Rasul v. Bush, that Guantanamo captives were entitled to being informed of the allegations justifying their detention, and were entitled to try to refute them.

Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants[edit]

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held in a 3x5 meter trailer where the captive sat with his hands and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.[6][7]

Following the Supreme Court's ruling the Department of Defense set up the Office for the Administrative Review of Detained Enemy Combatants.[5][8]

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, lead by Benjamin Wittes, listed the captives still held in Guantanamo in December 2008, according to whether their detention was justified by certain common allegations:[9]

Habeas corpus petition[edit]

A writ of habeas corpus was filed on Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad's behalf.

On 15 July 2008 Kristine A. Huskey filed a "notice of petitioners' request for 30 days' notice of transfer" on behalf of several dozen captives including Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad.[10]

Formerly secret Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment[edit]

On April 25, 2011, whistleblower organization WikiLeaks published formerly secret assessments drafted by Joint Task Force Guantanamo analysts.[11][12] His 14-page Joint Task Force Guantanamo assessment was drafted on April 5, 2008.[13] It was signed by camp commandant Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, who recommended continued detention.

Asylum in Canada[edit]

On February 10, 2009, CBC News reported that Maassoum Abdah Mouhammad was the fifth Guantanamo captive to attract a refugee-sponsoring group, in Canada.[14][15] The other four men were Djamel Ameziane, who had lived in Canada prior to traveling to Afghanistan, and Hassan Anvar and two other Uyghur captives from Guantanamo.

Asylum in Bulgaria[edit]

Reuters reported that Bulgaria was negotiating accepting former Guantanamo captives in December 2009.[16]

On May 4, 2010, the USA transferred three Guantanamo captives to three European countries, publishing their nationalities, without publishing their identities.[17] On May 19, 2010, historian Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, reported that the Syrian transferred to Bulgaria was Maasoum. Worthington was told by local journalists that Maasoum's family had been allowed to join him in Bulgaria. Worthington's conclusion was that Maasoum and three other Syrians captured with him were probably told their interrogators the truth about being in Afghanistan as economic migrants, not jihadists.

Local reporters asserted that Maasoum said that he had gone to Afghanistan to find a wife, that he was not a fighter, and that his detention was due to being mistaken for another man, named Bilal.[18]

Balkan Insight quoted Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who said that Bulgaria wanted to accept a former captive who was a married man, under 40, who had not been a trouble-maker while in detention.[2]

In December 2010 Der Spiegel reported that formerly secret diplomatic cables, published by whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, revealed details of Bulgaria's negotiations with the USA, over accepting former Guantanamo captives.[19] They reported that, in return for granting refugee status to two former captives the USA would lift the restriction that visitors from Bulgaria would require a travel visa.


  1. ^ OARDEC (May 15, 2006). "List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15, 2006" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-09-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Guantanamo Detainee Transferred to Bulgaria". Balkan Insight. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2016-12-09. The criteria foreseen so far by Bulgaria was that the former detainee should be married – meaning, as Tsvetanov put it – that the candidate should evidence family values, be younger than 40 and not have been a troublemaker while in the prison facility. 
  3. ^ Margot Williams (2008-11-03). "Guantanamo Docket: Maasoum Abdah Mouhammad". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  4. ^ Andy Worthington (2010-05-17). "Who is the Syrian released from Guantanamo to Bulgaria" (in English). Retrieved 2016-12-09. 
  5. ^ a b "U.S. military reviews 'enemy combatant' use". USA Today. 2007-10-11. Archived from the original on 2012-08-11. Critics called it an overdue acknowledgment that the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals are unfairly geared toward labeling detainees the enemy, even when they pose little danger. Simply redoing the tribunals won't fix the problem, they said, because the system still allows coerced evidence and denies detainees legal representation. 
  6. ^ Guantánamo Prisoners Getting Their Day, but Hardly in Court, New York Times, November 11, 2004 - mirror Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Inside the Guantánamo Bay hearings: Barbarian "Justice" dispensed by KGB-style "military tribunals", Financial Times, December 11, 2004
  8. ^ "Q&A: What next for Guantanamo prisoners?". BBC News. 2002-01-21. Archived from the original on 23 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). "The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study". The Brookings Institution. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  10. ^ Kristine A. Huskey (2008-07-15). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 63 -- NOTICE OF PETITIONERS' REQUEST FOR 30-DAYS NOTICE OF TRANSFER" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  11. ^ Christopher Hope; Robert Winnett; Holly Watt; Heidi Blake (2011-04-27). "WikiLeaks: Guantanamo Bay terrorist secrets revealed -- Guantanamo Bay has been used to incarcerate dozens of terrorists who have admitted plotting terrifying attacks against the West – while imprisoning more than 150 totally innocent people, top-secret files disclose". The Telegraph (UK). Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-13. The Daily Telegraph, along with other newspapers including The Washington Post, today exposes America’s own analysis of almost ten years of controversial interrogations on the world’s most dangerous terrorists. This newspaper has been shown thousands of pages of top-secret files obtained by the WikiLeaks website. 
  12. ^ "WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo files database". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  13. ^ "Masum Abdah Muhammad: Guantanamo Bay detainee file on Masum Abdah Muhammad, US9SY-000330DP, passed to the Telegraph by Wikileaks". The Telegraph (UK). 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  14. ^ "Fifth Guantanamo detainee gets sponsored to live in Canada". CBC News. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  15. ^ "Refugee group secures sponsorship for 5 Gitmo detainees". London Free Press. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2009-02-10. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Bulgaria may house Guantanamo detainee: PM". Reuters. 2009-12-12. Retrieved 2016-12-09. His deputy Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who is also interior minister, said earlier on Saturday that the United States and NATO member Bulgaria were in talks about a possible transfer. 
  17. ^ Andy Worthington (2010-05-19). "Who is the Syrian Released from Guantanamo to Bulgaria?". The Public Record. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  18. ^ "Bulgaria houses Syria-born Kurd from Gitmo". Sofia, Bulgaria: Hurriyet Daily News. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2016-12-09. Masum, however, argues that throughout his life he has shot no more than seven bullets during his police training in Syria and has been mistaken for man nicknamed Bilal. He claims to have gone to Afghanistan, searching for a wife, as the price there is ten times lower than in Syria, the report said. 
  19. ^ "Bulgaria 'Tied US Visas with Guantanamo Detainee'". Balkan Insight. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2016-12-09. In exchange for taking two prisoners, Tsvetanov wanted Washington to lift the visa regime for Bulgarian tourists and businessmen and pay all relocation expenses for the Guantanamo inmates. - See more at: 

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